ERIC Number: ED041792
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1968-Jun
Reference Count: 0
What Can We Know and Teach About Social Systems?
Boulding, Kenneth E.
Social Science Education Consortium Newsletter, n5 pl-5 Jun 1968)
A general systems approach to education is proposed. A general system is thought of not so much as a body of doctrine, but as a way of looking at things which permits the perception of the world as a totality and fosters communication among the specialized disciplines. In social science education the comparative study of relatively stable cultures is necessary. Once the idea has been established that there are stabilities in social systems, then we can go on to dynamics and developmental systems, and into concepts of economic and political development and idiological change. All real systems are dynamic, having four types of patterns in a space-time continuum: perceptible stable relationships, life cycle, evolution and learning, and the decision-making system. In this context, people should know: a little about the order of magnitude of the factual world; where to find information and how to use it; facts about the shape of the space-time continuum --the history and geography of the world; the nature and necessity of investigation; and a distrust of purely personal experience, or an awareness of cultural bias and generalization. All of these things are necessary to avoid what Veblen called "trained incapacity", an inability to live in the world as it really exists. (SBE)
Descriptors: Conceptual Schemes, Cross Cultural Studies, Educational Objectives, Interdisciplinary Approach, Social Sciences, Social Studies, Social Systems
Social Science Education Consortium, Inc. 970 Aurora, Boulder, Colo. 80302 (Single Copies, free; Multiple copies, $ .10 each)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Social Science Education Consortium, Inc., Boulder, CO.
Note: Published in "Social Science in the Schools: A Search for Rationale," Irving Morrissett, W. W. Stevens, Ed., Holt Rinehart and Winston, 1970